Sexual Harassment at Work

What Is Sexual Harassment?


sexual remark about a person’s body etc. 2 . Leering.What Is Sexual Harassment? As defined in the Supreme Court guidelines (Vishakha Vs the State of Rajasthan. August 1997) Sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour as: • Physical contact • A demand or request for sexual favours • Sexually coloured remarks • Showing pornography • Any other unwelcome physical. verbal or non verbal conduct of a sexual nature e. dirty jokes.g.

receive an honorarium. 3 . All women who draw a regular salary. and to provide mechanisms for resolution of complaints. private sector or unorganised sector come under the purview of these guidelines.Guidelines It is the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in the work places or other institutions to prevent sexual harassment. or wok in a voluntary capacity in the government.

special counselor or other support services.Complaints Mechanism • All work places should have an appropriate complaints mechanism with a complaints committee. • The complaints committee must be headed by a woman and not less than half its members should be women. 4 .

Complaints Mechanism • The committee should include an NGO/ individual familiar with the issue of sexual harassment. • Complainants/witnesses should not experience victimization/discrimination during the process 5 . • The complaint procedure must be time bound. • Confidentiality must be maintained.

• Guidelines should be prominently displayed to create awareness of the rights of female employees • The employer should assist persons affected in cases of sexual harassment by outsiders 6 . etc.Preventive Steps • Sexual harassment should be affirmatively discussed at workers’ meetings. employeremployee meetings.

• Names and contact numbers of members of the complaint committee must be prominently displayed. 7 .Preventive Steps • Central and state governments must adopt measures including legislation to ensure that private employers also observe guidelines.

Employers’ Responsibilities • Recognise sexual harassment as a serious offence • Recognise the responsibility of the company/ factory/workplace to prevent and deal with sexual harassment at the workplace 8 .

9 . Employers are not necessarily insulated from that liability because they were not aware of sexual harassment by the staff.Employers’ Responsibilities • Recognise the liability of the company etc. for sexual harassment by the employees or management.

and prohibition of such behaviour as an offence 10 . A clear statement of the employer’s commitment to a workplace free of unlawful discrimination and harassment 2. Clear definition of sexual harassment (using examples).Employers’ Responsibilities • Formulate an anti-sexual harassment policy. This should include 1.

It is thus imperative that the committee must consist of persons who are sensitive and open to the issues faced by women. This should include 3. Constitution of a complaints committee to investigate. 11 .Employers’ Responsibilities • Formulate an anti-sexual harassment policy. The Supreme Court guidelines envisage a pro-active role for the complaints committee and PREVENTION of sexual harassment at work is a crucial role. counsel and resolve cases of sexual harassment N. mediate.B.

12 .Employers’ Responsibilities • Formulate an anti-sexual harassment policy. This should include 4. The range of penalties that the complaints committee can levy against the offender. 5. A statement that anyone found guilty of harassment after investigation will be subject to disciplinary action.

Explicit protection of the confidentiality of the victim of harassment and of witnesses 7. A guarantee that neither complainant nor witnesses will be subjected to retaliation 13 . This should include 6.Employers’ Responsibilities • Formulate an anti-sexual harassment policy.

Third party suppliers and clients should also be aware of the policy. 14 . • Conduct periodic training for all employees.Employers’ Responsibilities • Publish the policy and make copies available at the workplace. with active involvement of the complaints committee. Discuss the policy with all new recruits and existing employees.

15 .Employers’ Duty Freedom from sexual harassment is a condition of work that an employee is entitled to expect.

Women’s Rights at Workplace are Human Rights 16 .